The British Army's Guide For Spotting "Extreme Right Wing" Soldiers Has Leaked Online
Army officers were told to look out for individuals who "describe themselves as 'Patriots'", "make generalisations about Muslims and Jews" and talk about "race war".
An internal guide for British army officers to help them spot "extreme right wing" attitudes among soldiers — including naming specific views and behaviours towards Muslims, Jews, "the Left" and political correctness — has leaked online.
The chart titled "EXTREME RIGHT WING (XRW) INDICATORS & WARNINGS" has been circulating since the weekend on UK far-right news and conspiracy websites. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it is genuine.
The 20-box 'XRW chart' lists a range of behaviours linked to extreme right-wing radicalisation, which officers should "look out for" in soldiers.
Among them are: "Describe themselves as 'Patriots'... Looks at opponents as 'Traitors'... Add 'istan' to British place names... Use the term 'Islamofascism'... Make generalisations about Muslims and Jews... Refers to Political Correctness as some left wing or communist plot... Make inaccurate generalisations about 'the Left' or Government... Talk of an impending racial conflict or 'Race War'... Involve colleagues in closed social media groups."
The MOD said the document was produced in late 2017 after the arrest of four soldiers who were accused of being affiliated with the banned neo-Nazi terror group National Action. At a trial last year, British army veteran, Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen was found guilty of being a member of the group, with the court hearing how he tried to recruit fellow soldiers to join. He was jailed for eight years.
Addressing the 'XRW chart', an army spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that "robust measures" were in place to make sure they didn't have people with "extremist views" in the armed forces.
The leak of the chart comes as the British army grapples with how to root our far-right attitudes after a series of high-profile incidents.
The Scottish investigative journalism outlet The Ferret revealed earlier this month that the armed forces had developed new measures to prevent the radicalisation of soldiers.
The investigation titled, "How the army is trying to stop neo-Nazis recruiting soldiers", revealed the MOD had brought in the training to prevent soldiers from being recruited to groups like National Action.
Last year, the Army launched an investigation after former English Defence League founder and prominent anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson posted a photo to Facebook showing himself with a group of soldiers.
Several months later, the army strongly condemned the actions of soldiers who had been filmed using a poster of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for target practice.
Predictably, the British army's 'XRW chart' sparked outrage among activists, websites and forums linked to the UK far-right. It was first seized upon after the right wing financial blog Zero Hedge, which posted the chart last Friday under the title, "You might be a British far right extremist if..."
"The British Army has allegedly distributed a cheat sheet of 'indicators & warnings' if one suspects that they (or a friend) might be a member of the 'Extreme Right Wing' (XRW)," he wrote.
"So, if you consider yourself a patriot who talks to people in closed social media groups, have scary tattoos or stickers, or make 'inaccurate' comments about the left or government, you may be an extreme right winger!"
After being posted repeatedly to Reddit, YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson picked up the chart, re-posting it on InfoWars, InfoWars Europe and his new website called Summit News.
Far-right political party Britain First also posted the graphic on its website: "We presume this is genuine."
It then called on its followers to "Play XRW Bingo" to see how many of the extremist indicators they have: "Scoring: 0 boxes: Name Corbyn, by any chance? 2 or more: Re-education needed. 5 or more: Nazi scum, off our streets!10 or more: Literally Hitler!"
The graphic has also been circulating on forums linked with white supremacist and Neo-Nazi activists like Gab, 4chan (above), 8chan and Nein Chan – a spinoff website with more explicitly Nazi content.
An Army spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “The values of our armed forces and the nation they serve are totally incompatible with extremist views. We have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting these views are not permitted to serve.”
An MOD source said the chart doesn't suggest that all patriots are extremists, and the department was taking a comprehensive approach to tackling extremism through the UK government's counter terrorism and extremism strategies.